Maria Silva was born on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. Her mother was an American citizen who returned to the Azores to raise her family.

She met her husband, Cristiano, in Sao Miguel. But early on he left the island to work as a logger for a Canadian railway company. Maria, too, left the Azores to reconnect with her husband and to raise her family in New Bedford in 1958.

Later in life, Maria lived at Alden Court Nursing Care in Fairhaven. She struggled with dementia and required daily assistance, according to her son, Paul. After the pandemic hit, Maria had a fall while walking to the restroom alone, Paul said. She was transferred to St. Luke’s for a broken hand. 

After a week in the hospital, Maria was transferred back to Alden Court, her son said. This happened in late November of 2020, as the second wave of novel coronavirus infections was spreading. 

Maria died of complications related to COVID-19 on Nov. 27, 2020. She was 90 years old.

Earlier in her life, Maria was employed sewing wedding dresses and gowns at Elco Dress and Bride’s World. Her husband, Cristiano, worked as a cook on fishing boats.

Maria enjoyed gardening, especially growing flowers, and taking care of the house, said Paul. She was devoted to her church, Holy Name of the Sacred Heart in New Bedford’s North End. And she loved sewing, carrying on her passion by sewing wedding gowns independently, while raising a family and after her retirement.

 “She was a great Portuguese woman,” Paul said. “She brought a lot of backbone to our lives. She was very strong.” 


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